My father, Harvey Beetle, is the quietest member of our family of four, but in his gentle, unassuming way, he is also the strongest presence. In so few words, but in so many actions, he has taught me how to be a fun-loving, gentle and compassionate person.
It was my father who taught me how to drive a small boat with a small engine at 6 or 7 years old. He taught me how to pull the choke, pull-start the engine, back up, bring the boat into shore for a safe landing and be prepared for crises. At 14, he taught me how to drive a speed boat that travelled at speeds over 50 miles an hour. At 16, he taught me how to drive a car. And in all of these stressful transactions – when I was in control of thousands of dollars worth of his property and had our lives in my hands – he never once lost his cool or raised his voice. He taught in a calm, measured way.
In this way, my father taught me patience.
My father has the tenderest of hearts. He has wept over the hardship of others when watching the news. He loves a happy ending. He is a man who will stop his car and pull over to the side of the rode to get out and escort a turtle safely to the other side. He is a man who gives generously to causes and is the first to, very quietly and without expectation of any reward, come to the aid of others in need.
In this way, my father taught me compassion.
My father finds pleasure in the little things. He likes cheap restaurants, diners that offer giant pancakes and baked beans. He loves jelly crullers and ice cream and fireworks and go-carts and board games and watching children play. He likes baseball and parades and beautiful sunsets, and he laughs easily and with heart.
In this way, my father taught me to enjoy the simple things in life.
Before he retired in the late 80s, my dad was an insurance adjuster, and he was honest to a fault. Very few things made him angry, but one thing that would set him off was people trying to scam the system to make a buck. That would tick him off. He might even be apt to raise his voice.
Harvey “Scud” Beetle is a very honest man himself, you see. He would never consider breaking the rules or uttering words that were not truthful. In his many, many years of full-time work, I cannot even remember one time that my father called in sick when he wasn’t actually ill.
In this way, my father taught me to be a good, honest and ethical person.
My father is a Barbershopper – a baritone – and boy does he love to sing. He has been in Barbershop choruses and quartets for as long as I can remember. He is not a show off, and he is not vain. He just loves to get together with his Barbershop friends and spend a night learning songs, perfecting his notes, and especially, performing.
Watching my father sing, I learned about joy and doing things that make you happy.
My father continues to inspire me, make me smile and come to my rescue, and he continues to lead our family, which now includes spouses and children (grandchildren), in the most unassuming way possible.
Happy father’s day to you dad. You are a wonderful role model, and I love you.